Healthy Amusement Park Snack Ideas

Healthy Amusement Park Snack Ideas

You've decided to take the family to an amusement park for vacation. You may or may not have a dining plan with a snack included each day, but you know that your kids need more than one snack in a day. You definitely don't want to pay amusement park prices for snacks such as monster cookies and cotton candy. Sure, as a once in a while treat, you may indulge in over-the-top “snacks,” but for the most part,  you want to provide healthy alternatives to prevent blood sugar spikes then sharp drop offs leaving everyone tired and less likely to enjoy your park time.

Finding a place to buy a healthy snack when it is needed isn't always convenient, so having snacks that you can hand out in line while waiting for an attraction or while having down time on a bench keeps little stomachs satisfied and hunger at bay. But what can you pack that the kids will enjoy?

15 ideas for packable snacks*

  • Popcorn. We like to pop our own popcorn and bag it into sandwich bags. Throw in other goodies, like peanuts or almonds, to change it up. Popcorn is an easy snack because many hotel rooms have a microwave, so you can pack microwaveable popcorn, which doesn’t take up much room, pop it as needed, and bag it up for snacking.
  • Snack mix. Pick your favorite whole grain cereals, dried fruit, nuts, and maybe a few sweet treats if you'd like (but only those that won't melt). My kids think that a sweeter cereal (which we don’t normally eat) thrown into a mix of whole grain low sugar cereals, nuts, and dried fruit is a treat, so keep in mind that your sweet treat doesn’t have to be candy. You can mix a large amount of snack mix prior to the trip and give it out as needed during the trip.
  • Fruit pouches. Fruit pouches, such as Plum Organics Mashups, don’t take up much space and can be used as a snack or as a fruit to go with a park meal.
  • Nut butter and whole grain crackers. You can make your own “to-go” containers of nut butter, or you can buy them to eat with crackers.
  • Homemade fruit leather. You can make a batch of homemade fruit leather to take along with you on your visit to the park.
  • Raw vegetables. If your kids enjoy raw vegetables as snacks, bring them along.
  • All natural jerky. There are several varieties of flavorful, protein-packed jerkies that are easy to pack for a filling snack.
  • Snack bars. You can make your own delicious and healthy snack bars, like peanut butter chocolate trail mix granola bars, but sometimes it’s hard to get that done when planning a trip. When buying your own, look for those with whole grains that are low in added sugar and high in fiber. The best fat choice would be unsaturated fat.
  • Water bottle. Keeping water with you is important for sipping in lines or when snacking. A small plastic water bottle (or sippy cup) is easy to carry and can be refilled throughout the day. You don’t have to worry about spilling because of the secure top. And if you are using a plastic water bottle, you can recycle it at the end of the day. Bringing a drink container that is too large can contribute to carrying around too much weight, which can be bothersome, especially if you may be carrying your child at some point during the day.

    Snacks that Should be Kept Cold

    For the snack ideas listed below that should be kept cold, we placed the food into in a large sealable plastic bag with a small reusable freezer block (that I usually use with the children's lunches) and ate the snack in the early part of the day. If we had a cold snack, we used it before our other snacks for the day. Another option is having one adult keep a lunchbox in his/her day bag for all of the cold goodies.

    • Apple slices with or without nut butter. 
    • On the go yogurt. We froze our tubes of yogurt before putting them into the bag with the ice block.
    • Cheese sticks.
    • Hard cooked egg. This is a great option if you don’t have time to eat breakfast before heading to the park, and you want a quick breakfast upon arriving.
    • Grapes.
    • Hummus with crackers. You can make individual portions of hummus or buy the small packages to take with you into the park.

    *When deciding on snacks, take into account your child’s developmental stage to pick appropriate snacks to prevent choking hazards.

    Additional Tips

    What can you do to add excitement to your snacks? You can use a sharpie to write on your snack bags in letters that look similar to the amusement park’s signature font. Also, you can buy stickers to decorate the snacks. Or let the kids decorate them.

    If your kids are old enough, have them carry their own snacks and other essentials, like Kleenex, hand sanitizer, etc. in their own day bags. If you are traveling to go to the amusement park, don't forget reusable snack containers or snack bags to portion out snacks for each day. Also, a sharpie comes in handy to label everything for everyone.

    If you want to buy snacks in the park, check out the offerings online before your trip. You may be able to find a place at the park with healthy options. My daughter was overjoyed to find a kiosk selling fresh pineapple on a skewer.​​​

    While at the park, it’s okay to splurge on some snacks that you wouldn’t normally provide for your children, but having healthy options at your fingertips ensures that you can provide a healthy choice anytime hunger sets in.

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